Friday, June 16, 2017

With You Always by Jody Hedlund

book cover
With You Always
by Jody Hedlund

ISBN-13: 9780764218040
Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: June 6, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
When a financial crisis in 1850s New York leaves three orphaned sisters nearly destitute, the oldest, Elise Neumann, knows she must take action. She's had experience as a seamstress, and the New York Children's Aid Society has established a special service: placing out seamstresses and trade girls. Even though Elise doesn't want to leave her sisters for a job in Illinois, she realizes this may be their last chance.

The son of one of New York City's wealthiest entrepreneurs, Thornton Quincy faces a dilemma. His father is dying, and in order to decide which of his sons will inherit everything, he is requiring them to do two things in six months: build a sustainable town along the Illinois Central Railroad, and get married. Thornton is tired of standing in his twin brother's shadow and is determined to win his father's challenge. He doesn't plan on meeting a feisty young woman on his way west, though.

My Review:
With You Always is a Christian romance set in 1857 in NYC and then in Illinois. You've got pride, prejudice, an "I never knew myself" type moment, and a romantic couple who are better people for having known each other. Just saying, P&P fans might like this novel.

Elise's family was wronged by a rich man, and now she and her sisters are poor and orphaned. After a financial crisis hits NYC, Elise can no longer find work there and must risk the unknowns of taking the Orphan Train to new employment in Illinois.

Thornton just wants his father to be proud of him, but all his father's pride seems aimed at Thornton's twin brother. Their father pits the brothers against each other to build a town in Illinois and fall in love in the next six months. Elise challenges Thornton to care about people and listen to their needs, not just see them as assets. But will acting ethically mean losing the challenge?

I enjoyed the banter between Elise and Thornton. They were both kind and honorable at heart even if their actions weren't always perfect. They faced hard decisions and grew as people throughout the story. The historical details were woven into the story and gave a good sense of what life was like at that time.

The Christian element was Elise learning to draw closer to God during hard times. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable novel.

If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.

Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

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